Legends from our own lunchtimes

Monday, May 12, 2008


One of our neighbours was employed on a chook farm.

I've never really contemplated before the meaning of working "on" a farm, as opposed to "at" a shop, or "in" a business, but I am fairly certain that he worked "on" the farm.

Probably it was more a general poultry farm rather than one specialising in one particular type of bird because as a special treat one year, he brought home a gosling and a few bags of fat-inducing grain, with the intention of fattening it up for Christmas.

Once again, I interrupt myself to ponder how one fattens "up", surely with the best of intent, one would fatten "out"?.

This small goose-like contraption was allowed to roam freely in the yard, and as geese are quite territorial creatures, and as it also had it's wings clipped severely, there was little, or actually no risk of flight.

Now in addition to having a wife and a small goose, the neighbour in question also had a small child, a daughter of perhaps three, who developed a special bond with the two legged downy creature. Each morning we'd watch as they walked together inspecting the yard, and she'd talk incessantly to her "Duckie" who'd appear to be listening intently to every word.

As Duckie grew the routine changed only slightly. Sometimes she'd appear dressed in a doll's dress, like a literal representation of Mother Goose. Often she'd be riding in a doll's carriage.

Always the chatter between Duckie and her adopted mother was incessant, although very little was emanating from Duckie's direction, she did listen with a politeness verging on intensity.

As weeks turned into months, the special fat-inducing Grain was having a serious impact on Duckie's ability to wear those doll's dresses, but she'd still appear wrapped in toile or a rug, and even as she grew to almost the size of her mistress, the two remained inseparable.

As Christmas loomed closer, the man of the house became concerned. Dinner was walking around with his daughter, they would have been arm in arm had the goose had arms and it was clear that he was having some difficulty coming to terms with explaining to either party that Christmas dinner for Duckie could well involve lying amid a bed of baked potato covered in lashings of Mum's special gravy.

While we can indeed confirm that Duckie lived to see at least one more Christmas, we can only surmise what the scene may have been inside that house that fine sunny Christmas day.

We can happily imagine Duckie taking her place "at" the table, as opposed to "on" it.

Dressed as she no doubt was, in her special Christmas bonnet, was she blissfully unaware that her role in the festivities was somewhat different to that originally intended, or was she congratulating herself on her well hatched plan?


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